Dorothy didn’t exactly keep her cool when the twister appeared and picked up her house sending it spinning to Munckinland did she? And Bill Paxton in the 1996 film ‘Twister’ certainly didn’t just sit at home and wait for the storm to pass. Well maybe they should have taken some tips from one man in Alberta, Canada!
Theunis Wessels seemed to startle his wife and family quite a bit last week when he decided that mowing his lawn was much more important than stepping inside swiftly to take cover. Mrs Wessels decided to capture the moment a swirling tornado noticeably became visible behind her husband as he continued to attend to his garden.
Tornadoes are formed quite easily, beginning with warm moisture at the surface and cold air above.. setting the foundation for a typical thunderstorm. Research meteorologist Harold Brooks compares this phenomenon to a hot-air balloon as the warm air starts to rise.
National Geographic state that on average, tornadoes are known to kill 60 people per year in the U.S., as violent columns of air throw flying debris, destroying the surrounding area. The column of air extends between the earth’s surface and a cloud, lasting between 10-30 minutes depending on the size. Maybe Dorothy had a reason for being scared, as it turns out that the most powerful of twisters can actually have a width of around 2 miles, and have winds speeds of around 300 miles per hour!
Scientists still ponder on what exactly causes tornadoes, however have come to the conclusion that the first kilometre must have strong changes in winds along with increased humidity for there to be a formation.
I don’t know about you, but all this talk of chaos, as well as watching the Wizard of Oz, definitely tells me that I wouldn’t have been as calm as Theunis over here! Luckily he was right not to panic this time, as you’ll be pleased to know there were no injuries in the town, phew!